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This paper proposes a cost-effective approach to design permanent magnet brushless dc motors for electric vehicles. The key is to shape the pole arc in such a way that the air gap length is at a maximum at the leading edge of each rotor pole arc and at a minimum at the trailing edge of the same pole arc, hence resulting in an asymmetric air gap. Thus, for a specified rotational direction, the distortion of air gap flux density and hence the torque ripple can be significantly suppressed. Also, with the use of advanced conduction angle control, the motor can achieve a wide speed range. The proposed motor drive is designed and implemented for a low-voltage battery-powered electric motorcycle.